East Dunbartonshire is tomorrow, Saturday 19 July, set to welcome the Queen’s Baton with a range of extraordinary batonbearers taking part in day 284 of the baton’s journey through 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.
Scottish comedian, television presenter and actor Craig Hill, known for his cheeky, irreverent shows will take hold of the baton at the Clyde Cruising Club in Bardowie.
The Queen’s Baton will begin its journey through East Dunbartonshire in Bearsden and will visit Milngavie, Bardowie, Torrance, Lennoxtown, Milton of Campsie, Twechar, Kirkintilloch and Lenzie before arriving in Bishopbriggs where it will make its way to the Leisuredrome shortly after 18:30, for the evening celebrations.
The baton will make stops at Bearsden’s historic Roman Baths, the West Highland Way, the Clyde Cruising Club, Campsie Memorial Hall and the Auld Kirk Museum among others during its journey through the region.
The Queen’s Baton will be carried by a varied group of astonishing individuals who make a difference to the lives of others. Michael Gibbons, from Milngavie, who despite suffering from Multiple Hereditary Exostosis (MHE), has worked hard to minimise the impact of the condition on his education. He has had over 20 operations to remove growths from his bones, and continues to push himself every day. He’s currently undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh Award, has voluntarily worked for both Cancer Research and Barnardos, and is currently undertaking the Saltire Award.
Joining the relay in Bearsden will be Margarita Sweeney-Baird who has created, tested and implemented the first fully inclusive competition system for skaters – with all forms of disability --
through the charity Inclusive Skating. Skaters from Russia, Canada, USA, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Scotland and England have since taken part. Margarita is also the Special Olympics Figure Skating Technical Advisor and has organised the first British figure and speed skating National Championships for Special Olympics Great Britain. Laura Ritchie will be one of the extraordinary individuals taking part in Lenzie. Laura suffered from a life-threatening condition, vasculitis. Following months of dialysis, a family friend donated a kidney, enabling Laura to get her life back, and graduate from university. She’s an active supporter of the Darlinda Charity for Renal Research and has offered a lot of support in campaigns appealing for organ donations.
A unique tradition of the games, the relay offers people across the country a chance to be a part of the excitement, celebrations and countdown to Scotland’s biggest-ever sporting and cultural festival and show their support for the home team.
For the first time in the history of the Commonwealth Games, a pupil from every school in Scotland has been nominated to get involved in the celebrations and carry the baton, making it the world's most engaging relay to date.
Nearing the end of its 190,000 km journey through the 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth, by the time the baton arrives at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony, it will have covered 4,000 km in Scotland alone, showcasing the nation’s culture and iconic landmarks during its visit to over 400 communities across all 32 local authorities.
The relay reflects the important role of sport by visiting schools, sporting facilities and leisure centres, encouraging communities to get behind Team Scotland, get involved with the Games and using its profile to get more people participating in sport.
Commonwealth Games Scotland Chairman, Michael Cavanagh, said:
“The Queen’s Baton Relay is the ultimate symbol of the Commonwealth Games and its arrival in East Dunbartonshire and journey through Scotland is an important signal to both the athletes and the public that the Games are just around the corner. The relay offers residents in East Dunbartonshire the ideal opportunity to celebrate community sport and show support for their local athletes selected to represent Team Scotland at Glasgow 2014. We hope everyone the length and breadth of the country will get behind the team and play their part in what is going to be an amazing home Games!”
David Grevemberg, Chief Executive of Glasgow 2014, said:
"The Queen’s Baton Relay is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for people across East Dunbartonshire to celebrate what’s extraordinary and unique about their community, and honour those locals who make a difference to others. The baton is visiting hundreds of villages, towns and cities across Scotland with thousands taking part in the relay, and many more attending the vast programme of sports and cultural events along the route. It's a great reason for East Dunbartonshire to get out and celebrate the countdown to the biggest festival of sport and culture this nation has ever hosted".
Rhondda Geekie, Leader of East Dunbartonshire Council, said:
The eyes of the world will be focussed on East Dunbartonshire on 19 July with the arrival of the Queen’s Baton Relay. It will be a golden opportunity to see the Commonwealth Games baton pass through our local communities, and a priceless chance to promote and celebrate the area on a world stage. East Dunbartonshire will be the last stop before the baton is handed over to Glasgow, proud host of the Games. It will be a thrill to see the Baton escorted through East Dunbartonshire against the stunning backdrop of the Campsie Hills, Forth and Clyde Canal and our many diverse communities. I hope you will join me in celebrating this historic day and the ongoing Legacy for East Dunbartonshire.